Thursday, November 8, 2012

Crock Pot Beef & Yam Stew

Mmmm... Isn't the chill in the air nice? It's about time! So how about a recipe for a beef stew to warm your tummy as the day ends...

My son's
school asks us to contribute 15 hours of volunteer work every trimester, and since I don't have a lot of extra time to be at school, I've chosen to fulfill some hours at home. Every two weeks the staff has a meeting and parents bring them a home-cooked meal to go with the theme of what they are teaching the kids at that time. The other week, I was tasked with making beef stew for 12. Had a made beef stew before? No. And this excited me.

After scanning Pinterest for simple, tasty beef stew recipes I noticed they were all kind of the same with little twists here and there. This is my rendition, and it's delicious, if I'm allowed to say that. {No pics... See the note at the bottom.}

Beef & Yam Stew

Serves: 6-8 for dinner; 10-12 for a side

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1.5-2 lbs. beef stew meat, cubed
all-purpose flour
salt & pepper
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 large yams, peeled and cubed
4 Tbsp tomato paste
28 oz diced tomatoes, with juices
Bay leaf
1-2 tsp cinnamon to taste
1/2 tsp all-spice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce {optional}
Beef broth, as needed

1. Heat slow-cooker to "brown" setting, or heat large soup pan to medium-high heat, and melt butter.
2. Place meat in brown paper bag with flour, salt and pepper and toss to coat.
3. Brown meat on both sides, then set aside in a bowl.
4. Cook onions in slow-cooker {or the same pan} with some olive oil for 2 minutes, then add yams and continue to cook until onions are translucent.
{You can add other veggies here, like peeled/cubed carrots, celery, etc. After onions are translucent, you can also add sliced mushrooms and cook for an additional 3 minutes or so.}
5. Stir in tomato paste and stir to cover veggies.
6. Add beef back in.
7. Add in diced tomatoes, bay leaf, cinnamon, all-spice, garlic cloves, Worcestershire sauce {optional} and beef broth {if needed for moisture or to make more soupy}.
8. Cover and simmer on low for up to 2 hours, adding broth if necessary. Consider making a day ahead to allow flavors to really mix together.

I was really quite pleased with myself for making up a stew and showering all before 11am, and that the kids were all still intact, although I didn't think to take any pics of the final product. As I dashed to the school I ran my fingers through my hair and realized I never washed the conditioner out of my hair! Oh well. Can't do it all. :)